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Nigeria hosts 5 AU countries on genome editing to boost agriculture

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Nigeria is hosting five other member states of the African Union(AU) to strategise on the use and adoption of genome editing technology in boosting agricultural productivity.

This is contained in a statement issued by Mrs Toyin Omozuwa, Press Secretary to the Director-General of the National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA) in Lagos on Monday.

In the statement, Prof. Abdullahi Mustapha, NABDA’s D-G said the broad spectrum of stakeholders should be responsive to the adoption and domestication of genome editing tool and products in Nigeria.

Omozuwa said Dr Shkirat Ajenifujah-Solebo, Ag. Director, Genetics and Bioinformatics Department and facilitator of the AUDA-NEPAD project expressed optimism that the workshop would synergise Nigerian Scientists, Media and Stakeholders.

Solebo revealed that the AUDA-NEPAD project was initiated and driven by member states of Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Ethiopia, Eswantini and Zambia.

”its a three-day writing workshop to develop a Genome Editing National Communication Strategy for Nigeria starting December 12 to 14 in Lagos.

“The workshop is also meant to underscore the importance of this cutting-edge technology, deepen public understanding as well as build confidence in agricultural research and biotechnology”, Solebo said.

She also said the project would explore outcomes of the appraisal exercise conducted during the in-country consultations which sought the buy-in by national stakeholders.

She maintained that lead experts were already identified from the six AU member states to constitute a continental platform for gene editing.

Ajenifujah-Solebo said this was to enable a consolidated science-based approach to emerging agricultural transformation technologies in Africa.

“The goal of the Genome Editing (GEd) project is to foster a broader understanding of GEd among different stakeholder groups through communication and advocacy for enhanced uptake of the tool to optimise agriculture in Africa.

”This includes support to the achievement of key development outcomes, such as adapting to climate change and reducing poverty and sustainability of food systems.”

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Genome Editing can be described as a technique for improving food crops, enhancing yields, quality and increasing quantity.

With it’s application, Nigerians are assured of food security, increased productivity and sustainable environment.

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